Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lady Slippers

Ladie's Slippers

Today I finished up a pair of slippers that I started a couple of days ago.  Just last week I ran into Joanne Fabrics to pick up some thread and saw that McCall's patterns were on sale for $1.99. I always grab a bunch of patterns to try whenever they go on sale. 

This cute pair of slippers was McCall's Pattern M6715. I did not love the instructions that came with the pattern. I completed the first slipper by misunderstanding the instructions and it came out just fine. I completed the second slipper correctly following the instructions and it did not come out as easily or as well. There were many" grrrrrrrrrr" moments! pieces....

This was a trial pair because I have some really pretty fabrics that I would like to try but I did not want to risk wasting the fabric. I read the pattern all the way through before I started which was a very good thing.

This was the first slipper I made. It was almost the last--but I took a couple of deep breaths and finished the second one.

I am glad I did a trial first. The pattern does not call for top stitching around the front. I did not like the way it looked without it so I top stitched it. 

Next time I will make sure that the bobbin thread matches the lining exactly. There were a couple of spots where there was just a bit too much bulk in the side seams (even when I reduced some by cutting out some interfacing in the seam) and it caused some messy stitching.

When I tried it on, it looked like a ballet slipper......very cute!

Here's the pair.....

The pattern is made up of 3 pattern pieces. The front which I cut out of a peach moire taffeta, the lining and sole which is made of an apricot colored 100 % cotton (I will use a sturdier material when I make my next pair, the pattern called for lightweight suede) and the heel piece which is cut out of a pale peach brocade.

The pattern has several floral embellishments which I will use on the next pair. It also has options for single or double elastic bands across the foot which are also very cute. 

I love fancy slippers! 

I have some leftover costume fabrics which would work very well with this pattern. I may cut out another pair tonight!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

On Living Life With Passion

When Jemma who blogs  at At Home With Jemma asked for participants in her Passion, Purpose, Productivity Project I decided to join in. I saw that several others were also participating and I was interested to see what they had to say  about living life with passion and aging with grace. I found everyone's  experiences very inspiring. For additional information regarding this project, please visit Jemma's blog at the link provided above. I will also be adding add some additional links to this page.)

Here is my experience:

Everyone defines passion differently but I define passion as an energy or very strong feeling of wanting to do something so well because you love it so much that it keeps you up at night wondering how you can do it better.

 I have personally gone through periods of time when I have been extremely passionate about something and have thrown my whole heart into whatever that happened to be. I have also gone through times when I have felt almost without passion but it was not a great place to be so I hope that remains a thing of the past. At any rate, the objects of my passions  have changed over the years as circumstances in my life have changed and it may well be that what I am passionate about today will not be what I am passionate about tomorrow.

For me, the primary focus of passion for many years has been my family; my husband of almost 33 years, my 3 daughters  and of course our furry companions (dogs--see sidebar) that we have loved over the years! 

My oldest daugter with me

My husband with youngest daughter (left), middle daughter (right)

At a very young age, I daydreamed about having a family. When I was in seventh grade one of my best friends sat behind me in science class and her mom was expecting. I was intrigued, excited for her and a little envious as she awaited the birth of her newest sibling. The very day she told me I sat in class and wrote a list of possible names for my own “someday” daughter. I remember it like it was yesterday.

 My science teacher was talking about our next project which was distilling dirty water in an aquarium. We were instructed to bring in something disgusting to add to the aquarium and by the end of the project he said we would all be able to drink the distilled water. I mentally bowed out of that project, not remotely interested in ever drinking water that had once contained mud, a shoe, dirty old bottles,  grass clippings, chocolate milk, vinegar and whatever else my classmates dreamed up to throw in there.  Instead I was dreaming up baby names. At the age of twelve I had already decided that I wanted three daughters and my first one would be named Jennifer, and she was. I was twenty three and my husband was thirty three when she was born. 

3 mos

From that moment on, motherhood became my passion.  As I look back at the start, it wasn't terribly romantic at first.  I was a stay at home mom, my husband worked nights, and at least one weekend a month he was working out of state, we had our share of sleepless nights; 2 years in a row of sleepless nights to be exact, overfeeding at first and projectile vomiting as a result, nightly colic that would cause my baby to scream for an hour or so, the dirty diapers (understatement of the year) whose contents seemed to obliterate the diaper and the onesie,  requiring an entire package of wet wipes to clean up after and a separate hefty trash bag to dispose of it, onesie and all ....……but then over time it all seemed to settle right down and life  turned into such utter bliss and contentment that I started to imagine a baby #2. 

rough housing

watching dad build the back lawn

When I was 27, Baby #2, Emily was born, and she fell asleep in her crib the first time we placed her in it. We were dumbfounded. We had heard that babies sometimes fall asleep in their cribs on their own but we had no prior experience with this phenomenon. Life with a 4 year old and a newborn was not as difficult as I had imagined.….

mighty proud big sister

Playing in snow tunnels my husband built all over the yard

I enjoyed sewing Halloween costumes. Here a Pierot (left) and pink Unicorn (right)

My husband and I were loving it. We were a happy little family doing happy little family things. We celebrated Christmases and other holidays, attended church and Sunday school, took vacations, planned birthday parties, went to dance, gymnastics, skating and soccer games. I helped in the classroom and became room mother. That’s when I started baking cupcakes. Little did I know that I would be baking cupcakes for nearly two decades! I sewed Halloween costumes, and costumes for other events. I loved it! I was a Brownie leader and PTA secretary and president. I baked more cupcakes.  Our PTA started a school carnival and every year I would help my husband build a very large game for it --one year a mini golf course, another year a cowboy sponge throw game and in the last year he build a giant labyrinth. The carnival also included a cupcake walk and you guessed it! I baked more cupcakes!

One of many soccer games

We were much invested in our little family and were both pleased and surprised when baby #3, Lindsay came along. We were not surprised in the sense that we did not know where babies come from but surprised because when I suggested to my doctor that I might want a third child at age 35, she told me in so many words that my biological clock had stopped ticking. She assured me that there would be no more babies without some sort of medical intervention. We were not interested in procedures. The news was devastating to me but only for a short time.  Not even four weeks after the discussion with my doctor, I found out I was expecting.

My eleven year old was not overjoyed with my unexpected pregnancy and did not want me to get out of the car when I picked her up at middle school.  My 7 yr old was ecstatic and could not wait to have a baby brother.  These were the makings for certain disaster but when they both saw their new baby sister for the first time they fought over who was going to hold her. Phew! Thankfully we headed back into a period of relative family bliss.

I was thrilled with my chance to go through another infancy.  With maturity and the hindsight of how quickly my first two were growing up, I knew I wanted to savor each and every moment. She was born in the summer and I didn’t have to return to work for a while. I enjoyed several months of staying home with my new baby. I would hold her and look at her precious little face, inhale her smell and try to commit it all to memory.

This was probably the most mindful, purposeful, “living in the moment” thing I had ever done at least at that point in my life.

a Sunday morning

Some family time at our favorite vacation place with a 5 wk old baby--what was I thinking?

Road trip!

Same vacation spot when baby was almost 2

Then life became hectic again, and a blur. One day turned into the next, and life was reduced to crossing events and commitments off on the calendar. When it all just seemed like it was spiraling out of control I would mindfully try to rein it in. But it didn’t last for long. Time flew by……and then one-by-one they were gone.

Last year my youngest daughter went off to college.  At first it was emotional. The house was too quiet and dinner time felt very uncomfortable to me. Would I always feel this way? The answer is no!  I began to really appreciate a slower pace and time alone, warm evenings at home instead of the ice rink AND I began to actually thaw out......

Human Zamboni! One moment of many spent in an ice arena.

 She is now halfway through her sophomore year, all is going very well and I have found my way back to the things that I loved to do all those years ago. I did go through a bit of an adjustment period but I am very content with my new normal. 

checking out her college campus with an ocean view

 I am no less passionate about my family but I do have more time to pursue all the things I love. Now my husband and I are able to spend more time together, take a week or a weekend away, visit our kids whenever we please, take a hike or a walk with our dog that we absolutely adore, or enjoy a nice evening dining out. Sometimes we just sit and talk over coffee for a couple of hours in the morning, just because we can.

a favorite spot.....

I am sewing and crafting regularly these days and it is a crafter’s smorgasbord out there! The vast array of choices we have in crafting and sewing today versus years ago is mind boggling.  I find it very exciting and I am constantly finding some new craft or medium to try. I often lie awake at night in bed planning my next sewing or craft project.

I used to love playing the piano for hours on end! I am going to get my piano tuned so I can start playing again. It's been years! I am thinking about taking violin lessons too! I love music!!!!

My piano

A friend and I are starting what we call, "Together Tuesdays." She came up with the name. Every week we will get together to try a new recipe or craft project. There will definitely be coffee too! Our first Tuesday together, (this week) we will attempt to make macarons. Both of us love to cook and we have long talked about making these sweet little confections from scratch. It should be a lot of fun! We may even blog about our Tuesday adventures! "Together Tuesdays' sounds like a great blog name, doesn't it?

I began My Sew What Blog about three years ago and it has been an a very rewarding experience. The friendship, support and inspiration I receive from people I have not “yet” met face-to-face is amazing!  Notice I said yet.  I think we should plan a retreat.....some place warm!

My Blog--love all my blogging friends!

I also started an ETSY shop....looking forward to working on it!

I love where I am in my life, I am grateful for all that I have experienced and I appreciate all of the little things in my life that make me excited to start a new day! 

Thank you to Jemma for initiating this discussion on living  life with passion and aging with grace. The posts from other participants and comments have been genuine and heartfelt. I found them all to be very inspiring. (Links to other project posts and Jemma's blog below)


 I don’t think living life with passion has to be anything particularly grand. It can be as simple as having your afternoon tea in a beautiful antique china teacup, complete with a vintage linen napkin and a sterling silver spoon. It’s all about doing the small things that you love in a grand way, being present in the moment and enjoying it so much that you can’t wait to do it again. I have learned to recognize that the sum of all the small things in my life adds up to something quite grand!

What are you passionate about? Join us in the discussion!!

Jemma's Blog- Click here
Jemma's most recent Post with additional project links - Click here

Dewena's Blog- Click here

Honora's Blog- Click here

Nancy's Blog - Click here

My Journal Word for the week is Passion! 
For those visiting my blog for the first time, I have been choosing a word a week to help me focus on some 2015 goals.

Have a lovely week!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sassy but Sweet Cosmetic Pouches and Catching up on Journal Entries

A friend/former neighbor asked me if I could make a pair of cosmetic bags for a Valentine's Day gift that she wanted to mail out next week. She didn't want fabric with hearts on it and she didn't want it "too cutesy". I said I could have a pair done in an hour and I would send her the photo. If she liked it, she could have them. I also told her I would give her a gift tag allowing me some play time with my cricut explore!
Here they are tied up with some bright pink tulle.
Inside fabric of small case matches outside fabric of large case....

Gift tag option #1 (not glued together yet)
Gift tag option #2 (not glued together yet)

There. I got that project finished! Now I will catch up on my second and third words in my journal!
 My word for the second week of January was grateful.  In case you did not see my recent post explaining my journal and word for the week, please CLICK HERE

I love the quote on this page (above) by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude."

My word(s) for this week is LAUGH/SMILE.

On the right side of the page, I made a pocket and filled it with personal anecdotes/memories that make me smile when I think of them. I have more to add too!

I love this quote!

When I chose smile as my word for the week, it made me think of the song sung by Louis Armstrong, When You're Smiling. I have been singing it ever since, it is stuck in my head! I was even singing it in the shower! It does lend some proof to the theory that a simple exercise of choosing a positive word for the week does make you more mindful and does promote a happier disposition. If you want to get this song stuck in your head too, here's a link to the Louis Armstrong version on Youtube. 

Last but not least, my dog Ellie, keeps us in stitches! She is such a funny, sweet, loving girl! She is a rescue from Georgia and we are so lucky to have found her photo on Facebook.
Wanna smile? Rescue a dog or cat from a local rescue!
 Ellie likes to sit with us in the evening on the couch for extra cuddles and love.

Next week's word will be PASSION. This will tie into the post I am preparing for Jemma's Passion, Purpose, Productivity Project on Monday. If you are following along, here are some relevant links:

Passion, Purpose, Productivity Project

Jemma's Blog--At Home With Jemma Click Here!

Dewena's Blog--Dewena's Window Click Here!

Honora's Blog--Pondside Click Here!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Journal Therapy and Jemma's Passion, Purpose Productivity Project

Displaying Untitled.jpg

I am pleased to announce that I will be taking part in The Passion, Purpose, Productivity Project hosted by Jemma of At Home with Jemma. 

When I read a post that Jemma recently published, it was as though she had crawled right into my brain. I could have written a very similar post though the result would not have been nearly as articulate, inspiring, nor would it have resonated so strongly with me or anyone else for that matter. She brilliantly wrote about so many things that have been on my mind in recent weeks.

Jemma's Post:  Aging with Style

Jemma's Blog:   At Home wth Jemma

So, before we go any further, I would love for you to click on the first link provided above so that you can read Jemma's post for yourself. I guarantee you that your head will be nodding in total agreement with her and you may even find yourself shouting out an "Amen sister!" as you read Jemma's take on the inevitable journey of getting I was going to say getting old.....but I didn't really want to go there. I couldn't even write it at first, but here's the thing.... an exercise in mindfulness, passion and aging with grace is nothing if it does not begin with acceptance of age and getting older. So I wrote it, sort of. 

Okay, now that you are totally inspired, (by Jemma, not me--she has an amazing knack with words) let me just tell you that I had already been thinking ahead and planning some life changes that I would like to integrate into my life. But here's another thing.....the person I am and the person I want to be are miles apart or at least that is how it seems at this time, and place in my life. Since it is unrealistic to expect to go to bed one night and wake up the next morning totally transformed, I decided that I needed a slower process--a learning process to retrain my thinking process and the way that I see and react to all that goes on in my life.

Here is what I decided to do....

I started a journal. A pretty simple word a week. No rules or parameters, simply the first word that pops into my mind  for any particular reason or for no particular reason at all. 

My word for the first week of January was HOPEFUL. I  think most will agree that January 1st is symbolic of a clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning...... BUT past experiences remind me that my annual, newly found optimism lasts for about a day or two, possibly a week in a good year and then I fall right back into my old self-defeating habits.

Well, not this year!
*** HIGH TIDE!!! 
(You will understand that exclamation in a moment)

Here's the plan:   I will treat each weekly word as an assignment, just like we all did in school when we received our spelling words for the week. Once the word is chosen,  I will mull it over a bit in my mind, find words or photos that relate to the word and create one or two journal pages centered around that word. Once the journal page(s) are done, I will write a sentence using the word.

 The word will be my mental exercise, hopefully in all things positive for the week and reinforced by journal "therapy".  The best part is that I can add to the pages at any time during the year so my journal will always be a work in progress, like me!

I loves quotes and collect them so this should be easy. I love to collage so it will also be fun. By the end of the year I will have a delightful little book of inspirational quotes, positive affirmations, snippets and what nots which will reboot my hard drive into complete mindfulness and utter positivity! So bring on the wrinkles and the age spots because I have earned every single one! Whoa Nellie! I think I may have gotten ahead of myself! 

During the first week of January I practiced being hopeful. It wasn't a difficult exercise because I am generally a pretty positive person. I wrote the word, thought about all my hopes for the new year and created my first journal page.

I chose to place a dove in the center of my page because the dove represents hope to me. This goes way, waaaaay back to my days in Sunday School (perfect attendance award!!) and learning about Noah and the ark.  The dove was a symbol of hope. It still is to me!

I love the quote that I placed on the dove (see photo above) about practicing hope because it puts into a few words what I hope to accomplish. 

Here is a close up of my second page.....
I love this quote as well!
It is the reference to HIGH TIDE that I mentioned earlier.

 To me this means:  Here I am life!!!!
Make way, I'm coming through.....
If not now, then when???????
There is no time like the present!!!!

I concluded my weekly assignment by completing a sentence using the word hope.....
I hope that my year is full of positive change and growth.

My word for the second week of January was grateful and my word for this week is laugh. I will post my journal pages later this week.

This brings me back to Jemma and her Passion, Purpose, Productivity Project. Each week she will be featuring a blogger who has chosen to participate so you can find all the links to the posts on her blog. I will post them as well. I am excited to participate and my post on PASSION will be published on January 26th. We hope you will follow along on the journey. 

I invite you to visit Dewena's Window. Dewena is the first participant to write a post on passion and she is one very inspiring lady! I read her post three times because I love what she wrote and I could relate to it on so many levels. 

 I won't say anymore about it except 
please take a moment to read it by clicking on the link above. You will be glad that you did. 

More later.......

Linking up to:

The Enchanted Rose--Roses of Inspiration #2

The Enchanting Rose